Tokyo Paralympics: Hong Kong’s Ng Mui-wui and Wong Ting-ting win women’s table tennis group openers
Hong Kong’s two Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games table tennis representatives got off to a super start in their women’s singles T11 group preliminaries at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Wednesday.
Rio 2016 Games bronze medallist Ng Mui-wui needed four games to beat Maki Ito of Japan 3-1 (14-12, 11-9, 8-11, 11-3) in her group A opener.
The 24-year-old, who is ranked third in the world by ITTF Para Table Tennis, hopes to improve on her performance since beating then-teammate Wong Ka-man for third place five years ago. She showed improvements over each game in her win over a stubborn world number 10 Ito.
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Ng has since won two silver medals at the 2018 Asian Para Games, a silver and bronze at the 2017 and 2018 world championships, respectively, and gold at the 2019 Asian Championships.
Meanwhile, teammate and Paralympic debutant Wong ” world number four ” beat France’s Lea Ferney 3-1 (12-10, 3-11, 11-6, 12-10) after a couple of scares.
World No 16 Ferney appeared to gain momentum with her powerful left hand smashes, but the 17-year-old Wong was eventually able to neutralise them with her spin-heavy returns.
It was a busy afternoon for coach Chan Hui, who was forced to rush from table-to-table as his athletes competed simultaneously in their separate group matches.
Ng, considered one of several Hong Kong medal hopes at the Games, faces an even tougher match on Thursday in world No 1 Elena Prokofeva of the Russian Paralympic Committee. Win or lose, the group format means she is still in with a shot at qualifying for the next round.
Wong, who was named one of the 2019 Hong Kong Sports Institute Outstanding Junior Athlete Award winners, will face 2016 Paralympics gold medallist Natalya Kosmina of Ukraine, who beat Ng in the semi-final at the Rio Games.
Elsewhere in group A, Prokofeva outclassed Krystyna Lysiak of Poland 3-0 (11-5, 11-6, 11-6), while Kosmina will open her medal defence against home favourite Kanami Furukawa of Japan in the second session on Wednesday afternoon.
Should Ng and Wong get through the preliminary group games, the women’s singles semi-finals and final will be held on Saturday.
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